Moving (what cannot be seen)
During a compulsory quarantine due to Coronavirus in Buenos Aires City, Mara (40), an amateur dancer, contacts two professional ones, Caro (35) and Majo (38), and invites them to participate in a project about the body and dancing, of which she will also be part.
While she spends the lockdown period in her apartment, she has virtual conversations with the dancers which address topics such as the body in confinement, their own life stories regarding dancing, family and emotional ties, death and mental health.
Throughout an exchange of audios, texts and videos during nine months, Mara, Caro and Majo share dance improvisations and research, personal objects and meaningful photos about their biographies.
Before the project comes to an end and they can meet face to face, a warm friendship will have been born among them.
Mara AvilaKey Cast
Majo NóbileKey Cast
Carolina VillaKey Cast
Project Title (Original Language):Mover (lo que no se ve)
Project Type:Documentary, Experimental, Feature
Runtime:1 hour 9 minutes 25 seconds
Completion Date:July 4, 2023
Country of Origin:Argentina
Country of Filming:Argentina
Director, producer, scriptwriter and the main character in the first-person documentary "Femicide. One case, many struggles" (2019), Mara Avila premiered this film, her first feature, at Gaumont Theater in Buenos Aires City, on March 7th 2019. One day prior to Women’s International Day, this first release has not only allowed her to promote the film but also to keep struggling against gender violence, as the daughter of a victim of femicide in Argentina. Supported by the National Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA in Spanish), the documentary "Femicide. One case, many struggles" has been Mara’s thesis, with which she got her Degree in Communication Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires in December 2018.
The film was internationally premiered in Guatemala at the X Muestra Memoria, Verdad, Justicia 2019, and took part in other festivals such as the 8th Leonardo Favio National Film Festival in Bolivar; the 8th Oruro Film Festival in Bolivia; the XI Muestra Contra el silencio, todas las voces Mexico 2020; the Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift 2021; the Women's International Film Festival Spring 2021 (award of excellence in screenwriting), among others.
In 2020, she got a distinction from the entity Argentores for the script of her first feature, as she started working on a new documentary project, once again with Gustavo Fontán as a script consultant. This new documentary titled "Moving (what can't be seen)" got postproduction funds from the Film Institute INCAA and will be released in 2023.
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Mara is currently also working as a co-mentor of documentary projects and Professor for the College of Communication Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires.
In the summer of 2020, I decided to make a documentary that would allow me to address issues related to the body and dance.
I understand, like many, cinema as a political stance, and at the same time I am concerned about how I position myself as a filmmaker. I had never thought that I would end up being a film director, given that at the age of twenty I wanted to be a journalist and that, finally, I graduated in Communication Sciences. When I started my career at the University of Buenos Aires in 1998 at the age of 18, I did not know what to expect. In 2005, my mother was murdered by her partner and that fact allowed me to release a documentary about it in 2019 (Femicide. One case, many struggles), which was also my university thesis. Moreover, during the production process of the film, I rediscovered my love for dance, having practiced it from around five to twelve years old.
Dancing contemporary dance and improvisation since 2013 has allowed me to connect with pain, with the trauma located in my body and with the possibility of transforming it; also, it has connected me with dancers, activists and diverse artists with whom I would not otherwise have related to.
There has always been a recurrence in my life: dying and rising; transformation and healing.
With my new film Moving (what cannot be seen), I would like to experience something similar to what happened with Femicide. One case, many struggles. I want to put some of my personal history at the service of society to shed light on social problems that need to circulate more, so that healing can be collective.
Regarding this issue, another tragic episode that meant a turning point in my life was the week I stayed in a psychiatric clinic, after being diagnosed with “mystical delirium”. It was 1994, I was in my second year of high school, and my parents had told me they would get divorced. I think this triggered some need to attract attention in search of affection and one day I lost control: I started yelling at my mom, telling her she was the devil; I was out of my mind. My dad called an ambulance and they admitted me to a clinic. Being a teenager, I suddenly found myself living alone in a very small room inside a clinic, with people who in my eyes were crazy. Every day we had a routine for breakfast, lunch, and I guess dinner (I have no memories of the place at night, except for the moments when I fell asleep in my small room).
While we collected the food in line with a tray, we were given the corresponding medication. My mom used to visit me and chat with me in an outdoor area.
They gave me so many psychotropic drugs that I used to tremble and my arms would remain in a fetal position even standing up. I lost regular attendance at school and finally I went back home. I would then go for daily strolls around my neighborhood, together with my aunt or with a therapeutic companion. My friends found it difficult to relate to me. But little by little I returned to “normality” and I took all the school subjects, with excellent grades, as it was my style.
While my friends celebrated their fifteenth-year-old birthdays, which is a tradition in Argentina, I had not recovered yet;
I was very skinny and still under the effects of psychotropic drugs. When I managed to stabilize myself, in my third year
at high school, I decided, all of a sudden, not to take that little Alplax pill the psychiatrist gave me. I began to treat myself with homeopathy and I eventually regained physical and mental health. Although I was not thoroughly happy, I celebrated my fifteenth birthday in a party room, like most of my friends from school.
The quarantine scenario in 2020 made me return to this episode in my life and the need to talk more about mental health.
I am familiar with depression because I experienced it at that time of my adolescence and then when I was 35 years old, when I began to mourn my mother's femicide. Back then, I was also suffering from post-traumatic stress, as I found that my mother's murderer had been freed from jail.
Today, at 41 years old, I am healthy, spending quarantine in my apartment in Buenos Aires City, in the company of my cat.
I work, I dance; I am stressed and sometimes sad, but I know I am fortunate.
Based on what was previously mentioned about my life, I am interested in telling a story that deals with the importance
of listening to our own bodies –and thus connecting with the collective– as a way of healing. I am particularly concerned
about the question regarding what happens to our bodies in confinement, socially isolated, without physical contact with
our loved ones, with our friends from activism, with our dance partners.
For this reason, I want to create a kind of audiovisual biodrama that serves as an excuse to ask ourselves how the relationship with our bodies and with society has been since our childhoods; how we have experienced the body-mind-emotions interconnection throughout our lives and what identity we have built in our forties that allows us to face a pandemic scenario without "going crazy", knowing that many are not achieving it and that the lockdown has worsened some previous pathologies.
My proposal to develop a story with two dancers who get close to me after an almost random call has to do with seeking an answer to those questions, by means of audiovisual tools and research through dance. It is by asking questions about our life stories and our relationship with dancing that the plot evolves and the stories of the three dancers begin to mirror one another and to interconnect. Finally, it is friendship and the so-called sisterhood that can perhaps save us from the boredom and sadness of confinement. Moving (what cannot be seen) is a film open to a constant dialogue with life, death and, above all, with the possibility of healing ourselves.